Mizzou softball's Laurin Krings pitches another gem for second straight NCAA Tournament victory

Eric Blum
Columbia Daily Tribune
Mizzou starting pitcher Laurin Krings (24) winds up to deliver to the mound Saturday afternoon at Mizzou Softball Stadium in Columbia. Krings allowed only one hit the entire game.

Missouri softball came into the postseason needing to rely on a committee of pitchers instead of one overwhelming, Chelsea Thomas-style ace. 

On Saturday afternoon, the No. 8 Tigers' starting hurler pitched a one-hitter from the circle for the second straight day, bringing them one step closer to super regionals.

MU defeated Northern Iowa 4-0 at Mizzou Softball Stadium as Laurin Krings allowed one hit: a single with two outs left in the seventh inning. 

"Every single game, the season is on the line," Missouri head coach Larissa Anderson said. "And we're playing to make sure that our seniors can continue this season and we can keep playing together."

Krings, a true freshman from Loveland, Colorado, threw 10 strikeouts and gave up only three walks to 24 batters faced. 

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Taylor Hogan of the Panthers broke up the no-hitter with a line-drive single to left field.

On Friday night, Jordan Weber's one-hitter was also broken up in the last inning of the game. 

The Tigers haven't had a postseason no-hitter since Thomas dominated DePaul a decade earlier on May 22, 2011.

"I was just thinking this game was like any other game," Krings said of her one-hitter. "I wasn't trying to pay attention to the no-hitter or anything. I was just trying to be the best I could for my team."

"You want it so bad for the kids, you do, and you could just feel it in the dugout," Anderson added of the near-no-hitter. "You could feel it on the field. The ball was thrown a little bit too much on the plate and found a hole. But just an unbelievable outing by Krings, just did a fabulous job."

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Mizzou's infield comes to the mound after Laurin Krings' no-hitter is broken up Saturday afternoon.

Missouri opened the game's scoring in the fourth inning on a Kim Wert home run and doubled its lead over the Panthers in the sixth inning on a Brooke Wilmes solo home run, her second of the regional. 

The Tigers' two longballs brings their season total of home runs to 85.

"In my first at-bat, I obviously struck out," Wert said. "When I came back in the dugout and (MU associate head coach) Chris (Malveaux) immediately said 'You are all over this girl. She's not getting it past you again.' So that was my mentality. And my next at-bat, I was like 'You're not beating me again.' And I didn't let her."

MU scored the final runs of the game in the top of the seventh inning on a Kendyll Bailey two-run single, where Abby George came around from first to score after a UNI throwing error. 

Panthers starting pitcher Kailyn Packard fell to 22-7 on the season. She gave up six hits and three earned runs and threw six strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work.

"She threw an unbelievable game against us, and she really kept us off-balance," Anderson said of Packard.

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Mizzou's Kimberly Wert (17) follows the flight of her home run in the fourth inning against Northern Iowa Saturday afternoon.

Saturday afternoon's attendance outdrew the crowd at Mizzou Softball Stadium on Friday night with 2,230 fans seeing the Tigers victory over the Panthers, compared to 2,092 people filling the stands for Missouri's victory over Illinois-Chicago. 

Missouri's Sunday opponent won't be determined until late Saturday night, as Northern Iowa would play the winner of the Iowa State versus Illinois-Chicago elimination game for the right to advance to the final day of the regional round.

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The first Sunday game starts at 1 p.m., and a MU victory ends the regional. Should the Tigers lose, another game between those two teams would take place with the winner advancing to super regionals. 

"We don't care who we play. And that's really the bottom line," Anderson said. "That's been our philosophy all year. So we're not going to prepare any differently. It's really just going to be to educate them on what the pitcher throws. As soon as we know who we're playing, we'll be able to watch a little game film, so they can see exactly how they're going to attack the opposing pitcher and what our pitchers have to be prepared for.

"But at this point of the season, I say it all the time 'The hay is in the barn.' There's nothing more that we need to do and prepare for to be able to attack whoever we're playing tomorrow."

Contact Eric Blum at eblum@columbiatribune.com. Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter.

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